WSU Extension


Vertebrate : Deer damage
(revision date: 2/13/2015)

Deer selectively eat certain types of plants in a landscape, including roses, raspberries, strawberries, fruit trees, and lilies. Damage is usually to new shoots and tender leaves. Often, only leaf petioles (stems) remain after feeding. Characteristic tracks or actual sighting confirm diagnosis. Severe caterpillar damage and foraging by grouse can sometimes be misdiagnosed as deer damage.
Management Options

Non-Chemical Management
  • Grow deer-resistant plants, such as blueberries, dahlias, rhododendrons, and azaleas.
  • Build a sturdy wooden or chain-link fence at least seven feet high.
  • Mount a continuous electric-shock wire about one meter away from the fence to further deter the deer.
  • Place patches of aluminum foil on the electric-shock wire, and spread peanut butter on them to deter them through behavioral response.
Select non-chemical management options as your first choice!

Chemical Management

None recommended

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Caption: Deer damage on Viburnum
Photo by: P. Rainsberger
Caption: Deer damage on Weigela
Photo by: P. Rainsberger
Caption: Deer damage on Thuja occidentalis 'pyramidalis'
Photo by: D.J. Pehling
Caption: Deer damage on pear
Photo by: R.S. Byther